KUALA LUMPUR, June 20 — After more than three months of closing its borders to prevent foreigners from entering the country, Malaysia, which is now in the COVID-19 recovery stage, is gradually phasing out the ban.
With the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) in its 11th day today, the government is now opening its doors to allow the entry of expatriates without them having to seek the permission of the Malaysian Immigration Department.
The permission is given to expatriates in Category Ep1, those with Professional Visit Pass and Resident Talent Pass holding senior management posts.
Apart from that, as announced by Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob yesterday, the Malaysian government also agreed to allow Singaporeans (those residing in Singapore only) and Brunei nationals (living in Brunei only) to enter the country without having to seek Immigration permission.
This is , however, subject to the Singapore and Brunei governments giving the same treatment to Malaysian citizens.
They are also required to undergo COVID-19 screening test in their home country before leaving for Malaysia or to do so on arrival in the country.
This is important to prevent infection of imported COVID-19 cases in the country and ensure success of Malaysia’s fight against the pandemic.
Today is also nomination day for the Chini state by-election, which will be making Malaysian electoral history as this will be the first constituency election in the country that will take place in the “new normal”.
In this by-election, many new rules have to be followed, among them practising social distancing, no “salams” (handshakes) or hugging, face masks need to worn, hands should be washed or sanitised frequently, attendance records and temperature checks need to be taken (for ceramah) during the campaign period.
Also based on the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the Election Commission (EC), supporters of the candidates are not allowed to be present at the nomination centre, while processions leading to it are also not allowed.
Nevertheless, the EC has decided to allow indoor ‘ceramah” (talks), house-to-house visits and walkabouts, subject to prescribed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), during the campaign period which ends at midnight on July 3.
Hopefully, everyone involved, including candidates, voters and supporters, comply with the prescribed SOPs to avoid a Chini by-election cluster!